Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Dec 2021 19:29

Sheldrake wrote:Re 1`. The adjusting shots will be needed to take account of variations in wind strength and direction at different the altitudes. Youn need the adjusting shots to hit the target.
Of course but that still reduces the shell's value relative to one you know will explode X feet above the ground virtually any time you fire it at high angles. It costs more in ammo and negates the element of surprise, allowing troops to take cover instead of being caught in the open.

Carl is also conveying post-WW2 experience (I'm assuming he's not 100 years old). How reliable were timed airburst shells in WW2?
Sheldrake wrote:Re 2. Only if.
Only if - I've been pretty clear on that throughout. Just having a discussion here guys. Thanks for the input so far.
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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by Sheldrake » 27 Dec 2021 20:43

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Dec 2021 07:00
Sheldrake wrote:This is an attempt to solve a problem which was real, but also largely solved by the introduction of super quick fuzes in 1916.
A super quick fuze doesn't give you an airburst though. Having a giant shell explode 15ft above ground rather than even 1ft below creates a substantial fragment dispersion benefit. (1)
Sheldrake wrote:They [huge shells] were not the ideal weapons for use against troops on the move.
They're not ideal for reasons of expense and logistics rather than effect. Obviously it's worse to have a 16in shell land amidst your platoon than a 3in shell. Problem is a 16in shell weighs/costs ~150x the 3in shell but has only ~25x the fragmentation effect due to square/cube dynamics (shell effects are in 3D; moving ground troops in 2D).

For naval gunfire support - where the critical action for this idea would lie - these factors are less prevalent.

First, the logistics of a shell fired from a ship are much simpler than a shell shipped, then unloaded, then reloaded on amphibious craft, then supplied to frontline units. (2)

Second, the non-logistic cost of providing non-naval gunfire support to your landed forces is extremely high (assault craft) and can outweigh the inefficiency of using "too-large" shells for missions that smaller, cheaper shells could achieve. This is particularly true where, as with most NGFS, the non-shell expense is a sunk cost due to having a navy for other reasons. (3)

Third, a larger shell/gun has longer range, ceteris paribus. The US 16in/50 can reach ~10mi farther than the USN 6in gun, for example. (4)

Fourth, while shell metal/filler cost escalates with size, it's not likely that fuzes do. I.e. you're normally paying only marginally more the fuze on a 16in shell (of the same type) versus a 3in shell - but again you're using ~150x the metal/filler. If it's worth spending $1 on the 3in fuze then it's feasibly worth spending $150 on the 16in fuze. (I'm sure the 16in fuze costs more but not 150x more)

All this suggests that paying an abnormal amount to amplify the usefulness of an abnormally large/expensive shell should make sense.
Gosh where do I start to answer this?

Re1 The point about large calibre shells is that they create big shock effects. They are just the job for demolishing bunkers and killing their occupants.

They are not the ideal vehicle for delivering lots of little fragments. Back at the start of WW1 the British, and some other armies had faith in airburst ammunition - but in those days delivered as shrapnel. This is the 6 inch shrapnel round that could be fired by a 6 inch gun of the type usually found on cruisers.
Image
Although the British had quite a lot of 6 inch shrapnel, the main nature used was HE.
=
and 15 ft is lower than the optimum height of burst for an HE round. Proximity fuzes are set for 10m

but shrapnel - or for that matter airburst HE is rubbish at dealing with troops sheltering under as little as 18 inches of overhead cover. Big railway guns, and NGS from battleships and monitors bring the kind of munitions that CAN do something against hardened targets. The alternative is a big armour-piercing bomb dropped by a heavy bomber. This is why on the D Day beaches the battleships engaged coastal artillery emplacements and destroyers and smaller craft engaged the beach defences.

Re2 Logistics. Battleships have a limited ammunition supply - C 100 rounds on board. Resupply tends to be complicated. Off the Norman coast, battleships needed to return to Portsmouth. Barrels have a limited wear life.

Re 3 Utility. Armies ashore need a wide range of fire support: e.g. engaging a single machine gun post or suspected OP; providing a barrage as close support for an attack; defensive fires; blinding an enemy; illuminating the battlefield etc.. A few battleships may have far more firepower than say a divisional artillery group, but lacks the flexibility and granularity to provide comparable support. It is also vulnerable to the weather and naval imperatives e.g. the need to engage an enemy fleet.

Re 4 NGS is fine if you are only going to fight on the littoral. In Normandy, with its famously shallow beach head, by D+40 most of the fighting was beyond the range of even the biggest warships.

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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Dec 2021 21:51

Sheldrake wrote:Gosh where do I start to answer this?
My advice is start by asking why.
Sheldrake wrote:The point about large calibre shells is that they create big shock effects. They are just the job for demolishing bunkers and killing their occupants.

They are not the ideal vehicle for delivering lots of little fragments
True or false: Larger shells have more (and/or larger) fragments than smaller shells.

I'll answer this one for you: True.

More importantly, the WW2 British Army can answer that for you:
Using a standard target of 'men crouching in (British standard) slit trenches', a reasonable approximation of relative effect was the square root of the weight of explosive filling. Of course this ignores the different power of different explosives and this type of target is one that is little affected by fragments. However, it is a representative target for an army on the offensive. It also has logic, a splinter of a given size goes much the same distance no matter what size shell it came from unless there are very significant differences in the HE detonation velocity. However, at any given distance from the burst there will be a greater density of fragments from a larger shell but this density decreases geometrically with distance.
Source

So as I said, fragmentation effect of larger shells is greater but not line with their larger weight, which is one reason why you wouldn't use (normally) heavier shells for a smaller shell's job.

Perhaps it wasn't yours to wonder why but it's never too late.
Sheldrake wrote:and 15 ft is lower than the optimum height of burst for an HE round. Proximity fuzes are set for 10m
I didn't say it was optimal; I said 15ft is better than 0ft and might be feasible. But maybe we can reach 10m with a more extensive telescope system.

10m ideal burst height might be another case on which to ask why instead of to give a rule of thumb. Larger shells' more and larger fragments will have greater ballistic carrying power and greater envelope of casualty infliction. It seems likely that air burst height increases with shell size, though perhaps not across the range of shells that a typical artillerist would need to wonder about.
Sheldrake wrote:This is the 6 inch shrapnel round that could be fired by a 6 inch gun of the type usually found on cruisers.
No idea how shrapnel shells got into this discussion.
Sheldrake wrote:airburst HE is rubbish at dealing with troops sheltering under as little as 18 inches of overhead cover.
With a 16in shell bursting at 15ft anything lightly covered below - a ways around as well - still gets killed by overpressure.
Sheldrake wrote:Battleships have a limited ammunition supply - C 100 rounds on board. Resupply tends to be complicated. Off the Norman coast, battleships needed to return to Portsmouth.
All logistics can complicated, some complicated things are more complicated than other complicated things.
Sheldrake wrote:Barrels have a limited wear life.
All do. A USN 16in/50 firing with reduced charge (max range 27,350 yards) has a barrel life of >3,000 rounds.
Sheldrake wrote:A few battleships may have far more firepower than say a divisional artillery group, but lacks the flexibility and granularity to provide comparable support.
False choice. You have the battleships already, we're just discussing their best use.
Sheldrake wrote:In Normandy, with its famously shallow beach head, by D+40 most of the fighting was beyond the range of even the biggest warships.
IIRC some important stuff happened between D and D+40.
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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by Sheldrake » 27 Dec 2021 23:53

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Dec 2021 21:51
Sheldrake wrote:Gosh where do I start to answer this?
My advice is start by asking why.
Sheldrake wrote:The point about large calibre shells is that they create big shock effects. They are just the job for demolishing bunkers and killing their occupants.

They are not the ideal vehicle for delivering lots of little fragments
True or false: Larger shells have more (and/or larger) fragments than smaller shells.

I'll answer this one for you: True.

More importantly, the WW2 British Army can answer that for you:
Using a standard target of 'men crouching in (British standard) slit trenches', a reasonable approximation of relative effect was the square root of the weight of explosive filling. Of course this ignores the different power of different explosives and this type of target is one that is little affected by fragments. However, it is a representative target for an army on the offensive. It also has logic, a splinter of a given size goes much the same distance no matter what size shell it came from unless there are very significant differences in the HE detonation velocity. However, at any given distance from the burst there will be a greater density of fragments from a larger shell but this density decreases geometrically with distance.
Source

So as I said, fragmentation effect of larger shells is greater but not line with their larger weight, which is one reason why you wouldn't use (normally) heavier shells for a smaller shell's job.

Perhaps it wasn't yours to wonder why but it's never too late.

Sheldrake wrote:and 15 ft is lower than the optimum height of burst for an HE round. Proximity fuzes are set for 10m
I didn't say it was optimal; I said 15ft is better than 0ft and might be feasible. But maybe we can reach 10m with a more extensive telescope system.

10m ideal burst height might be another case on which to ask why instead of to give a rule of thumb. Larger shells' more and larger fragments will have greater ballistic carrying power and greater envelope of casualty infliction. It seems likely that air burst height increases with shell size, though perhaps not across the range of shells that a typical artillerist would need to wonder about.
Sheldrake wrote:This is the 6 inch shrapnel round that could be fired by a 6 inch gun of the type usually found on cruisers.
No idea how shrapnel shells got into this discussion.

Because YOU claim that an airburst effect from a big gun is a worthwhile addition

Sheldrake wrote:airburst HE is rubbish at dealing with troops sheltering under as little as 18 inches of overhead cover.
With a 16in shell bursting at 15ft anything lightly covered below - a ways around as well - still gets killed by overpressure.
Sheldrake wrote:Battleships have a limited ammunition supply - C 100 rounds on board. Resupply tends to be complicated. Off the Norman coast, battleships needed to return to Portsmouth.
All logistics can complicated, some complicated things are more complicated than other complicated things.
Sheldrake wrote:Barrels have a limited wear life.
All do. A USN 16in/50 firing with reduced charge (max range 27,350 yards) has a barrel life of >3,000 rounds.
Sheldrake wrote:A few battleships may have far more firepower than say a divisional artillery group, but lacks the flexibility and granularity to provide comparable support.
False choice. You have the battleships already, we're just discussing their best use.
Sheldrake wrote:In Normandy, with its famously shallow beach head, by D+40 most of the fighting was beyond the range of even the biggest warships.
IIRC some important stuff happened between D and D+40.
The point about fragmentation pattern is that to engage an area target you want to distribute the weapon effects over the area of the target. If you want to take out a quarter of a grid square, engage a linear target, or move the barrage to cover an advance a competent artillery staff could create that effect with field artillery, using the fragmentation pattern from a larger number of barrels. That is not possible with a single big gun whatever maths you think you can do.

Shock is transmitted better through the ground than air. A delay fused he round will create more shock than an air burst.

Your arguments are circular. You advocated NGS as an alternative to landing artillery on flawed logistic grounds. You created the false choice of NGS. As I have pointed out, the big things that large calibre NGS could do was fire delay fused HE against hardened targets. That is why no one bothered either with a big shrapnel shell or 16 " airburst, except for AA

The barrel wear figures if 3,000 rounds sounds a lot, but it is 100 rounds per day for a month. Battleships are not intended to do that. That is what Field artillery does.

The idea of a telescoping 15 or 20 foot rod as a physical fuse extension to an artillery shell is a is is an extremely dumb and impractical idea. There were far better things to do with battleship guns than fire airburst rounds from them. Only an argumentative obsessive would wish to pursue the point.

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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Dec 2021 00:27

Sheldrake wrote:Your arguments are circular.
You obviously don't know what this means. Which of my premises double as conclusions?
Sheldrake wrote:Shock is transmitted better through the ground than air. A delay fused he round will create more shock than an air burst.
As with your inexplicable diversion to shrapnel, you're probably having trouble keeping the concepts of shock and overpressure separate in your mind. Can't otherwise tell how this came up.
Sheldrake wrote:That is not possible with a single big gun whatever maths you think you can do.
Nonsense. On pure math a 70,000in gun doesn't even need a fuse to clear a square mile grid.

As we move from pure math to what's practical it's apparent that I'd need to talk to the guys determining what weapons you were to have, rather than the guy who fired the weapon given him.
Sheldrake wrote:extremely dumb and impractical idea... Only an argumentative obsessive would wish to pursue the point.
Predictably you've become peevish over not getting the deference you expect. The bus driver isn't the auto engineer, the pilot not the aerodynamicist, nor the gun-loader the artillery design expert.
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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by T. A. Gardner » 28 Dec 2021 02:51

The French tried something like this with their 75mm shells. They introduced a long graze fuze for it (round on left below)

Image

I'm not sure how well that worked, but since it was neither copied or improved, one has to think it had serious drawbacks.

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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by Kingfish » 28 Dec 2021 04:05

Sheldrake wrote:
27 Dec 2021 20:43
Re2 Logistics. Battleships have a limited ammunition supply - C 100 rounds on board.
100 Rounds?

Kongo and Haruna fired over 900 main gun rounds at Henderson field.

Idaho and Mississippi fired 518 during the battle of the pips.

Rodney fired almost 300 rounds in 2 days off the Normandy coast.
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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Dec 2021 07:01

Field Artillery, 1954-1973 has this passage on airburst:
Another effective direct fire technique was " Kill er Junior." perfected
by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Dean. commander of the 1st
Battalion. 8th Field Artillery. of the 25th Infantry Division Artillery.
The technique was designed to defend fire bases against
enemy ground attack and used mechanical time-fused projectiles
set to burst approximately 30 feet off the ground at ranges of 200 to
1.000 meters. The name Killer Junior applied to light and medium
artillery (105.mm. and 155-mm.), whereas "Killer Senior" referred
to the same system used with the 8-inch howitzer. This technique
proved more effective in many instances than direct fire with
Beehive ammunition because the enemy could avoid Beehive by lying
prone or crawling. Another successful application of the Killer technique
was in clearing snipers rrom around base areas.
Note that the ranges used imply a flat trajectory with timing error mainly on the X, rather than Y, axis. In this usage, any error doesn't negate the airburst effect, unlike with a longer-range falling shell. I've seen no indication that WW2 armies - perhaps not even Vietnam era armies - were capable of reliably/efficiently creating airburst effect with their shells for long, falling trajectories.

Note also the use of heavy artillery in the "Killer Senior" role. Apparently the US Army didn't follow Sheldrake's rule of thumb that heavy artillery is only good for blast effect on prepared defenses.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 28 Dec 2021 07:15, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Dec 2021 07:04

Kingfish wrote:100 Rounds?
To be fair to Sheldrake he probably meant 100 rpg. Iowa class usually stored ~140 rpg.

Then again, he considers sailing from Normandy to Portsmouth for shell resupply to be an immensely complicated logistical task, so who knows.
T.A. Gardner wrote:I'm not sure how well that worked, but since it was neither copied or improved, one has to think it had serious drawbacks.
Thanks for sharing but little relevance. It's a fixed fuze extension so carries massive ballistic/stability/accuracy penalty. And it's maybe 3 inches of burst height on a small shell that reliably explodes at ground level anyway. Very easy to see why it wouldn't be worth the trouble.
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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by antwony » 28 Dec 2021 11:43

Not this poster's worst idea. But, the problems have been well explained.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Dec 2021 21:51
Sheldrake wrote:This is the 6 inch shrapnel round that could be fired by a 6 inch gun of the type usually found on cruisers.
No idea how shrapnel shells got into this discussion.
Shelldrake was being generous and showing your idea some respect.

There's this TV show "Mythbusters" were a couple of guys do an experiment to misprove a commonly held urban myth and then use some sciency stuff to try to and find a way that the myth could happen. Shelldrake was trying to make your idea work.

A 16inch shell, full of shrapnel, would be of some use. More stupidly, I suppose you could score the inside of the shell casing, like the outside of a Mill's grenade. Then when the (I'm making this number up) 500kg of HE in the shell detonates, the (I'm making this number up) 1,000 pieces of shell splinters would create a large "killing zone". Not sure what velocity the shell splinters would be travelling, but (I'm making this number up) Mach 17 might be a good guess. Getting hit with something going Mach 17 may cause a disruption in the space- time continuum with the person hit getting transported to a parallel world with sexually available green skinned aliens and tranye on tap. Shrapnel shells would be less useless/ overkill. You could put say (I'm making this number up) 50kg of HE in the shell and pack it with (I'm making this number up) 5,000 buckshot sized shrapnel balls, to "colander" any organism with in 50m and (I'm making this number up) 1,000 golf ball sized balls, which would rip apart some humans within a couple of hundred metres and injure random people several kilometres away.

If there was any utility in this idea, airburst 16inch would have been produced using proximity fuses. It wasn't. As Shelldrake mentioned the huge shells, apart from AA, not only weren't used for airburst, they even used delayed fuses to achieve the opposite effect.

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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Dec 2021 12:23

antwony wrote:sexually available green skinned aliens and tranye on tap...

As Shelldrake [sic] mentioned
Thank you for these valuable contributions to the thread.
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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Dec 2021 21:22

Kingfish wrote:
28 Dec 2021 04:05
Sheldrake wrote:
27 Dec 2021 20:43
Re2 Logistics. Battleships have a limited ammunition supply - C 100 rounds on board.
100 Rounds?

Kongo and Haruna fired over 900 main gun rounds at Henderson field.

Idaho and Mississippi fired 518 during the battle of the pips.

Rodney fired almost 300 rounds in 2 days off the Normandy coast.
I should have added the modifier "per gun" These were from memory. The actual figures were slightly more generous and varied from ship to ship from 110 RPG for HMS Warspite, Resolution, Royal Sovereign and the 15" monitors. KGV class 115 and Nelson 116. Normal rate of fire 1.5 RPM. Less than 90 mins per barrel.

The source is the course notes from the Staff Officers Course at the Combined Training Centre Largs from July 1943 to March 1944.

Extract below

PART III. WEAPONS AVAILABLE AND METHODS OF EMPLOYMENT.
Warships (SeeAppendix "A"). l ,
(a} Indirect fire underway.
Battleships. Main and'secondary armament. (Unlikely to be available for a cross-channel operation).
Monitors,
Cruisers
(b)Direct fire orarea indirect fire underv way
As in(a)above and:Destroyers and Gunboats.
NOTE: Destroyers andgunboats can do accurate
indirect fire"whilst at anchor.....
(c) Limitation of naval guns in bombardment role. \ \. .
(i)High velocity guns make crest clearance problem's. Reduced charges for bombardment available for '
certain types of guns.
(ii) Wear of guns
(iii) Safety factor. In the case of15inch guns, fire should not be closer than 1000yards to our own troops. With smaller guns this can be reduced to 500 yards.
(iv) Time factor* Fire should be opened in-from 5 -15 minutes of receiving call, provided" the bombarding ship is in the vicinity.

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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Dec 2021 05:12

Sheldrake wrote:(i)High velocity guns make crest clearance problem's. Reduced charges for bombardment available for '
certain types of guns.
Not an issue for the use of this shell (high angle of descent). Make sure reduced charges are available (obviously).
Sheldrake wrote:(ii) Wear of guns
Make sure reduced charges are available (obviously).
Sheldrake wrote:(iii) Safety factor. In the case of15inch guns, fire should not be closer than 1000yards to our own troops.
Doesn't matter for counter-battery fire, for bombardments of deep defenses (as were virtually all German), nor for attacking columns on the move towards the front such as deploying reserves. With Allied air superiority, spotting such columns will present ample opportunities for devastating attacks - see NGFS at Salerno for example.
Sheldrake wrote:Normal rate of fire 1.5 RPM. Less than 90 mins per barrel.
Same as the US 155mm M1 gun. US guns generally fired faster (2 rpm), though perhaps slower at high angles.

--------------------------------------------

Most of Sheldrake's objections amount to "that's not how it was done." This is always the worst possible mode of thinking but is not surprising here. I'm just imagining Sheldrake being present in Vietnam and explaining to Lt. Col. Dean why he can't use heavy artillery airbursts in the "Killer Senior" role: "Don't you know those are only good for blast effect??!!!" Luckily for the US boys (unluckily for the brave patriots opposing them), he wasn't there.

Besides "that's not how it was done", Sheldrake also relies on the fallacy that a suboptimal thing is a useless thing. E.g. his comments on ideal airburst height and his pointing up roles in which giant airburst shells couldn't be used. It should be obvious to any reasonable person that a single shell won't solve every problem but that, despite this limitation, that's no reason to abandon an idea (indeed it's not a criticism worth wasting time voicing but so it goes here).
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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by Takao » 29 Dec 2021 23:14

Could you please point to a singular use of Killer Junior or Killer Senior shells using daisy-cutteresqe fuses...

Unfortunately, you are moving the goal posts & are now arguing about air bursts...Not daisy-cutter fuses.

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Re: Telescoping frontal fuze for very large shells

Post by Takao » 31 Dec 2021 01:45

You have yet to explore the pros & cons of mechanical timed fuses or VT(proximity) fuses for air bursts as opposed to your daisy-cutter figment of imagination...Why is that?

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